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What Albert Adrià Is Feeding London at His Pop-Up Restaurant

What Albert Adrià Is Feeding London at His Pop-Up Restaurant


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Albert Adrià, brother of Ferran and essential collaborator with him at the late, legendary elBulli in Catalonia — and himself the most dynamic and continually surprising chef–restaurateur in Barcelona these days — has brought a taste of the Adrià culinary magic to London. On Friday, February 12, Adrià launched a two-month-long pop-up, 50 Days (it operates six nights a week, through April 9) in two different rooms at London's Café Royal Hotel. Why here? I asked Albert. "This," he said, gesturing around him, "Piccadilly, it's the center of the world!"

The evenings, which will accommodate 56 guests each, sold out almost immediately after the pop-up was announced late last year; two days before the series launched, there were 2,800 people on the wait list.

The Café Royal has fabled origins. It was opened in 1865 by a fugitive French wine merchant named Daniel Thévenon. By the turn of the century, it had become one of the most famous eating and drinking places in London, and over the decades, celebrities from George Bernard Shaw, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Oscar Wilde to Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie gathered there. The restaurant closed in 2008, but was subsequently bought by the Israel-based Alrov Group and expanded into a 159-room hotel under the Set Hotel brand.

The 50 Days experience begins in the 1865-vintage Grill Room, renamed the Oscar Wilde Bar in honor of its most notorious patron. This is a stunningly ornate room, undeniably garish but so self-confident about its excesses — floor-to-ceiling mirrors frames in rococo gold, painted ceilings, immense wall sconces — that it somehow works (or would if it weren't for the jarring little orange leather chairs with which the cocktail tables have been furnished).

Appropriately to the exuberance of the decor, the first tastes are fantastical little bites in the mode of elBulli or Albert's 41º in Barcelona — the latter of which is now transitioning into a new place called Enigma. (His other places are Tickets, Pakta, Bodega 1900, Hoja Santa, and Niño Viejo, and he and his brother are reopening Heart, their multi-media collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, for a second season this summer on the party island of Ibiza.)

Out came a plate full of miniatures: curls of crisp nori peppered with kernels of quinoa; "pistachios" that were actually a cream of yuzu; strawberry cookies flavored with sesame seeds and curry; marshmallows made of parmesan; and more. The famous spherified olives -- olive juice treated so that it became enclosed in a skin of itself — made an appearance, but with "a British touch": each one contained a tiny drop of Worcestershire sauce. My dining companion, the Irish cookbook writer and television personality Clodagh McKenna, had never encountered this example of Adrian magic before, and her eyes widened in surprise and pleasure as the sphere melted in her mouth.

Two small cocktails, agreeable enough, came along with these bites: an Elote, made with corn juice and manzanilla (sherry), and a Bellucci, a blend of yogurt vodka, fresh vanilla, lime juice, and basil.

Apéritifs finished, the guests are invited to migrate upstairs to the hotel's Domino dining room, as spare and hotel-generic as the Oscar Wilde Bar is ornate. There, a dozen small courses came out in brisk succession. The Adriàs have never been localists about their food; they believe in choosing the best of each product from wherever it may hail. What was interesting about the 50 Days dinner was that the chef let the ingredients stand in more recognizable form than he has often done.

There meal proper began with little canapés of Mediterranean red tuna with almond oil and caviar, followed by "tartar de cuchara," a "spoon tartar" of meat from the tuna spine, marinated in tiger's milk and so soft that it has to be eaten with spoons (ivory caviar spoons were provided, along with nori chips). Next came thin slices of raw, six-week-dry-aged rubia gallega beef — meat from Galician cattle, processed in Belgium — with grilled bread and rich butter. The faintly gamy flavor and silky texture of the meat against the crunch of the bread worked wonderfully.

Next came smoked salmon on toasted malt bread with pickled beets and vinegar powder; a Galway oyster from (McKenna noted) Kelly's, the best producer of these excellent bivalves, nestled in a pool of kimchi; a small bowl of sea bass ceviche with kumquat taking the place of the usual lime juice; and a dish of Norwegian king crab "Singapur style" in a pungent, salty pomelo sauce — vaguely reminiscent of the sweet-and-sour sauce in an old-style Cantonese restaurant, McKenna pointed out.

A ramekin of "spaghetti" in portobello mushroom sauce with clotted cream and bits of black truffle was the penultimate savory course. The noodles, which were al dente, almost squeaky, clearly weren't made from flour and water, but from something else cut into threads; I guessed blanched squid — but it turned out to be king oyster mushroom stalks, mandolined into thin slices and then cut into short lengths crosswise. More important than the technique was the fact that the dish was intensely flavored and most agreeable. So was the almost-classic final savory dish: a piece of Scottish sirloin with glazed shallots and what was billed as "a classic Café de Paris sauce, with 25 ingredients." On the side were pickled crosnes (the knobby little roots also called Chinese artichokes) and a few gossamer pommes soufflés so tiny they looked under the legal limit.

Desserts upstairs were a gelée of wild strawberries (where they came from, in early February, is anybody's guess) with basil and a lime sorbet; an airy chocolate waffle; and what looked like a Crottin goat cheese but was actually a Coulommiers cheesecake with a frosting of hazelnut cream — really good. More sweets were served downstairs, back in the Oscar Wilde Bar, including Adrià versions of After Eight mints, Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates, and chocolate cigars.

Thinking back on the meal the next day, I had mixed feelings at first: Individual bites were dazzling, and a number of the courses were so appealing that I wished they could have been bigger — but stylistically the progression seemed to jump around; there seemed to be less orchestration than I'd anticipated (and experienced at many previous Adrià meals, whether from Ferran or Albert). But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that the lack of a slow steady build, the zig-zagging, the unexpected moments of earthbound delights interspersed with modernist flights of fancy, were precisely what made the experience so enjoyable — and so appropriate to this great, ever-changing international food capital. Albert Adrià knows his audience.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday 2014 [GALLERY]

There’s a lot to celebrate about Roman Road and Bow – the fight for women’s Suffrage, the birth of unions, celebrated schools of artists, and tales of the East End from a time when it was practically a self-governing state. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. And that’s what the inaugural Roman Road Festival Opening Sunday was all about. It was a day of trails and talks, a day to explore and tell stories, a day to slow down, look and listen.

Paradise Cycles workshop getting E3 cyclists in good shape © Oliver Lynton

We bumped into James Johnson on Twitter where we heard about his pop-up cycle workshops. He is a third year student at Queen Mary’s University and he’s also found time to set up Paradise Cycles. In the pioneering spirit of Tower Hamlets, James wanted to set up a social enterprise that supports a stronger cycling community by offering accessible workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, while at the same time offering an affordable bike repair service and custom bike building service. He and his friend Louis spotted a gap in the East London cycling community for a business that could support cyclists by not only making repairs and safety checks more affordable, but also by custom building bikes to ensure that cyclists have a bike tailored to their needs. We invited them to take part on our Opening Sunday and thanks to the overwhelming response they got at Roman Road Festival, James will now be offering a regular pop-up cycle workshop on Saturday’s Roman Road Market. Result.

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio coffee van © Andrea Vladova

Ello Darling’s ice blue Piaggio van has been selling coffee outside The Albert pub for the last few months and we were delighted when Paola joined us throughout the Festival. A perfect way to start a sunny Sunday, Ello Darling’s Climpson & Sons espresso fuelled our intrepid explorers.

The East London Suffragettes tour at Pankhurst’s Toy Factory © Andrea Vladova

The East London Suffragettes trail, led by tour guide expert Ian Porter (author of Suffragettes Autumn Women’s Spring), was the most popular walk of the day – indeed it was oversubscribed about two weeks before the event. And with good reason. Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes and its streets are littered with fascinating, and often violent, connections to the most militant of the Pankhurst family. This is 45 Norman Grove, the house at which Sylvia opened the Toy Factory, which included one of the first ever creches to help mothers carry on working. “I wanted to rouse these women of the submerged masses to be, not merely the argument for more fortunate people, but to be fighters on their own account despising mere platitudes and catch cries, revolting against the hideous conditions about them, and demanding for themselves and their families a full share in the benefits of civilisation and progress.” (Sylvia Pankhurst)

Alan Waltham leading the East London Group trail around Bow

Not many people know that Malmsbury Primary School in Bow was the base for the East London Group, a school of artists that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s. These artists were ordinary working class men who were given the opportunity to attend evening art classes taught be more well-to-do artists. Their work, which depicted the ordinary streets and factories of the East End, was so well received that they were soon brushing shoulders with the likes of Picasso. After the war, the school dissolved and it wasn’t until 2014 that a relative of one of the original East London Group artists, Alan Waltham, decided to reunite these celebrated works of art for an exhibition at Bow Arts. With help from David Buckman’s, author of the book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group, this exhibition at Bow Arts Gallery was a runaway success. We asked Alan Waltham to come in to London just to lead our tour, which took in the buildings depicted by the artists and ended up at the Bow Arts exhibition.

The Giant Flower trail taking in Helena Roden’s flower sculptures

Ever noticed the giant flowers dotted around Roman Road? They were designed by Helena Roden and were the subject of our Giant Flower trail. Helena was also responsible for the sculptures in and around the playground at Old Ford Primary School.

The pop-up Letter Lounge workshop at Bow Wash Launderette © Oliver Lynton

In keeping with our day of storytelling we asked local resident Claire Medcalf to run her Letter Lounge workshop, and where better than the Bow Wash Launderette – it does offer a great coffee afterall. If you went to Latitude last year you may have seen Claire there, helping people pen those letters they never get time to write.

A young Letter Lounge fan trying her hand at paper folding © Oliver Lynton

A big smile from the daughter of Bow Wash Launderette’s owner Juliana, as she tries her hand at the art of paper folding.

Re-enactment of Roman Road’s history © Oliver Lynton

The streets were brought to life in our Live History Trail, which reenacted the history of Roman Road from Queen Matilda through to the Suffragettes printers, and the landing of the first Doodlebug bomb. Attracting a vast crowd of Pied Piper followers this popular walk, acted out by the Bow Drama Group, ended with a rendition of Yellow Brick Road, which replaced Yellow Brick with, you guessed it, Roman. Follow the Roman Road.

Young Suffragettes re-enacting Bow’s riotous past © Oliver Lynton

One of the Bow Drama Group’s youngest members donning Suffragettes clothing and flourishing a placard painted with the words We Will Vote, a moving reminder of what Sylvia Pankhurst has achieved for the women born after her.

Gary Arber made an unexpected appearance during the Live History Trail © Jade Arroyo

A poignant moment when Gary Arber of Arbers & Co appeared at his shop door during a scene from the Live History Trail on what was his last ever day at the shop, which closed its doors after 117 years of trading. Gary’s grandmother Emily Arber allowed the East London Suffragettes to print their handbills for free.

Elders from Bow share stories about Roman Road © Oliver Lynton

Did you know there used to be prisoner of war camps in Victoria Park? Or that Abbotts carpets used to be a row of terraced shops all connected to each other so you could walk from one to other without going outside? Or that fights broke out regularly about who was next in line to see the doctor at the surgery on Roman Road as there wasn’t a receptionist ‘back in the day’? Nowadays, we don’t talk enough with the older generations to find out about the past, and to appreciate what we’ve lost or what we’ve gained. So we asked a few local elders to take part in a story telling workshop led by theatre director Zoe Waterman, and the audience at Cafe Creme was captive.

George Snooks on lead guitar © Andrea Vladova

A month before the festival we got a call from local parent Ed who asked us if we would be interested in featuring local ‘teenage bands’ and, if so, he wanted to suggest his son George Snooks. We jumped at the opportunity to showcase Bow’s young local talent and thought it was the perfect way to end the Opening Sunday – a look to the future after a day of looking to the past.

Spida & The Blues Crew at The Albert Pub Ernesto Alonso Masegosa playing at The Albert Pub © Andrea Vladova New Arc playing at The Albert Pub

Can you help us?

As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.


Watch the video: Be Afraid. Albert Adrià


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